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Former county resident spared from earthquake

March 13, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Kevin Hoover, a Boonsboro High School graduate, is an English teacher in Fujisawa, Japan. Hoover and other faculty members and students escaped their school safely after Friday's earthquake.
Submitted photo

A Boonsboro High School graduate was in Japan when the massive earthquake hit the country Friday.

Kevin Hoover, a 29-year-old English teacher, has been keeping in touch with his parents in Washington County through Skype, the man's father said Sunday.

Hoover was teaching his students in a third-floor building in Fujisawa when the building began to shake violently during the earthquake, said his father, Geary Hoover.

Kevin Hoover had his students hide under their desks as items began flying around the room, and he eventually directed them to exit the structure, his father said.

All the students and faculty in the building were able to escape safely, said Geary Hoover, who is a correctional officer at the Maryland Correctional Training Center south of Hagerstown.

Geary Hoover said Sunday that he has been able to stay in touch with his son by videoconferencing available through Skype.

After the earthquake hit, the Hoovers placed a Skype camera in front of their television at their house Friday so Kevin Hoover could see English news broadcasts on CNN, Geary Hoover said.

Kevin Hoover did the same at his residence so his parents could see Japanese television newscasts of the disaster, Geary Hoover said.

In other Skype conversations with his son, Geary Hoover said he has been able to see his son's seventh-floor apartment sway back and forth in some of the tremors after the earthquake.

"There is no noise, (it's) just like a bowl of Jell-O moving. The whole thing is unbelievable," said Geary Hoover, who lives in the Cool Hollow Terrace development south of Hagerstown.

Kevin Hoover, who also attended elementary and middle school in Boonsboro, went to Virginia Tech, where he studied architecture, his father said. But Kevin Hoover fell in love with teaching and ended up obtaining a teaching degree, his father said.

A friend of Kevin's told him about opportunities teaching abroad and around February 2010, Kevin started teaching at the private school in Fujisawa, his father said.

Geary Hoover said his son's home is about one hour from the epicenter of the earthquake. The community was spared from the surge of water that other regions in Japan endured in the resulting tsunami.

But "everything is shut down" like trains, stores and taxi services, and people are in the streets looking for food and water, Geary Hoover said.

Geary Hoover said Sunday afternoon that the last time he talked to his son was through Skype at about 9 a.m. Sunday. At that time, Kevin Hoover said he was able to get "a little bit of food," his father said.

Despite the problems with food and water, Geary Hoover said his son is not worried about his situation because people living Japan are known for helping each other.

During one of the Skype conversations with his son, Geary Hoover said he, his wife, Debbie, and Kevin did a "group hug. Thank God he is OK," his father said.

Geary Hoover said his son has been posting accounts of his experiences on Facebook and YouTube.

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